Custom Made Horses - Success Stories

Karen and her staff exceed expectations when it comes to building relationships between horse and rider. Below list just a few of Karen's home-bred and created partnership success stories, written by those who have worked with Karen to find their perfect partner. 


Charlotte and Max

Our daughter Charlotte has been riding at White Harvest Farms since she was five years old. When she was eight she was given the opportunity to ride Max for a lesson.  There was something that “clicked” between our daughter and Max. I asked more about him and found out he was only four years old. This must be a very special four year old to be ridden by an eight year old.  I trust Karen would never pair our daughter with a horse she didn’t feel was a good fit.

It only took two more rides to make me realize Max was indeed a special four year old.  He was raised at White Harvest Farms.  He had the best trainers all his life and was surrounded by talented and caring riders.  This is what makes him the horse he is today.

We purchased Max for our daughter about a month after her first ride and have never doubted the decision.  Karen knows how to match riders and horses.  

Max has been a part of our family for about nine months.  Those nine months have been an opportunity for us to see Max and our daughter grow together.  They are both challenged with learning new skills and becoming an all-around rider and horse.  They make a wonderful team.

Karen has an amazing ability for creating these talented horses, so perhaps it should not have surprised me that we stumbled on the perfect horse for our daughter at White Harvest Farms.  I know we are fortunate to find a special horse which fit our needs better than we could have imagined without having to search high and low.   

If I had relied on description in an advertisement alone, then I am certain we would never have found Max since his age would have deterred me.  Sometimes, you need to see these horses first hand or communicate your interests with the trainer to really figure out how to find the right horse for the rider.

- Anna Roedler Bertanzetti

Mandie and Grindle

In late 2014, with just over a year back in the saddle (after a ten year break from riding), I announced to Karen that I’d quite like to try my hand at equitation. Up until that point, I was having just a blast being back in the saddle and for the most part, staying in the saddle.

In early 2014, I had a private lesson with Karen, where she introduced me to Grindle, who was at the barn in training to be sold. As I am climbing into the saddle, I remember Karen saying: “Grindle is going to make you ride her, so this is going to a tough lesson, but you will learn a lot.”

An hour later, I was in love. Three weeks later, she became part of our family.

Grindle immediately entered into WHF’s full-time training program and I started to really learn to ride. And it was tough – physically and mentally! It’s just over two years now since I first rode Grindle, and I look back and can’t believe how blessed we are to have Grindle in our lives. With thanks to Karen’s full-time training program, Grindle has grown to be an incredibly honest and athletic performance horse, with a love of jumping. When we do compete, we do so successfully in the 3’ hunter arena, with Karen consistently placing on her in 3’3” classes, both hunter and jumper. Back home, in our lessons, we are jumping 3’3” and above (depending on how brave I am!).

I attribute much of Grindle’s success to the full-time training program she’s in at WHF, where Karen teaches and enables her horses to be their very best selves and to realize their talents. Of course, combine that with the flat and jump lessons we participate in, and it makes for a winning formula. Importantly, Karen’s way with horses is extraordinary. I don’t think Grindle would be half the horse she is today if it weren’t for the way Karen trains and takes care of her horses. I think she speaks to their souls, or as you will hear her say: “I’m putting cookies in the cookie jar.”

As for turning my hand to equitation … in Fall 2015, Grindle and I placed 3rd in the Colorado Columbine Medal and in 2016 we progressed to 3’ division! We’re looking forward in 2017 to what’s possible! 

- Amanda Hume



Taylor and Boon

My name is Taylor Valencia and I have been riding since I was 5. I'm now 17 and have been riding at White Harvest Farms since August 2015. When I moved to White Harvest I mentioned to Karen that I was interested in doing some breed shows as well as the A circuit. In December of 2015 Karen told me that I could lesson on "Boon" aka "Only Mischief" who is a 9 year old Quarter Horse. I quickly became fond of her and her sassy personality. Karen told me that I could start working with her and she could be my "project" until we could get her sold. Things came together and Karen allowed me to lease her and show her in some CHJA and A shows this spring and summer. We were very successful in the hunter ring with anything from being champion in our division to placing 6th in our first pro/am derby and winning our second. I recently purchased her and I'm very excited for what the future holds for us in both AQHA and USHJA. Thank you so much to Karen Banister for pairing me with this wonderful horse.

-Taylor Valencia

Amanda and Gala

What happens when a nine year old girl with hopes/dreams/aspirations of attending Pony Finals in Lexington, KY takes matters in to her own hands?  She trolls through multiple websites until she comes across a local barn that has ponies for sale here in Colorado and better yet, in Brighton which is 15 minutes down the road from us!  This determined little girl proceeds to send her own e-mails and calls the owner and trainer, Karen Banister directly to set up an appointment to see these amazing creatures that she has found online.  Karen, being well versed in horse crazy little girls, very patiently responded to all of Amanda’s burning questions:  How old are the ponies?  Do they have training?  Have they ever been to Pony Finals?  Can I buy or lease one?  So Karen again, in her very patient way that she deals with small people, suggested she have her trainer at the time contact her and she would set up a time for us to come and meet the ponies of White Harvest Farms.  This is when we met and fell in love with GF Gala, a medium pony that came from Buddy Ball’s Welsh pony breeding facility in Waco, Texas.  She is an absolutely adorable 12.2 hh grey Welsh pony with the heart the size of Texas and we could not have loved her more from the minute we saw her!

Fast forward a year later and Amanda was 2015 Pony Finals bound!  We were lucky enough to partner up with Karen back then because our trainer at the time couldn’t go and Karen was already going with WHF Clients.  After spending a week with Karen in Lexington, Kentucky, we quickly discovered the level of dedication and commitment Karen has to both her students and horses that is unparalleled in our local horse community.  She has nurtured Amanda and Gala’s relationship so deeply over these last two years and that has given Amanda the confidence to compete in the “A” show pony division across the country.  Amanda also now rides Gala around without a bridle, leads her around the arena where the pony follows her like a dog, and lays in her stall with her while she naps – that is now the level of trust that these two have for each other.  Their friendship and love is something to behold and I truly feel blessed and so very lucky to have Gala, Karen and the White Harvest Farms family in our lives.  We could not be happier and this partnership has opened so many riding and character building opportunities for Amanda that we feel she has a bright “equestrian focused” future in front of her thanks to Karen Banister and White Harvest Farms!  

-Laura Walsh

Mickie and Madison 

Madison has been riding at White Harvest Farms since 2012. Like all beginners, we started with riding lessons in the evenings and at the weekends. WHF has a small, but good, selection of horses and ponies that are school masters and really give learners confidence. In no time, Madison was cantering and jumping cross-rails, and we were ready for our first lease.

Several years and a few leases later, Madison is still in love with the sport, and even more so with the social life that is such a big part of the WHF experience.  We made the commitment to purchase a pony, and with Karen’s help and match making skills, we purchased Mickey from one of Karen’s clients.

Mickey came to us as five-year old pony, with the sweetest, kindest of temperaments, thanks to both his owners and Karen’s early year training (he was raised as a baby at WHF). We immediately put him into full-time training with Karen, and less than five months later, Madison was competing with Mickey at the Colorado Medal Finals in the Stirrups Medal. We didn’t make the ribbons, but we did place 9th out of 17 in her class (we cantered our trot fence, oops!).

I have to be honest and say that initially I didn’t see the possibilities, but Karen said “trust me on this,” and we did, and I’m glad we did. It’s been less than a year, but already the pony loves his kid, and the kid loves her pony. Madison and Mickey continue to grow together, and you can see Mickey wants to take care of his kid, always. They are doing well in their flat work, and Mickey and Madison are jumping confidently at 2’6”. 

I want to attribute Madison and Mickey’s continued advancement and confidence to the training program that Mickey is part of, as well as the lessons in which Madison rides. As part of the full-time training program, Karen and her team work to build Mickey’s confidence in his abilities, so that when Madison is not sure, he’s like: “I got you, kid,” and off they go. As a result, Mickey is building Madison’s confidence.

There’s nothing more heartwarming than watching your kid smile and laugh with her friends as they ride their ponies. And, there’s nothing more amazing than watching your kid and pony finish their lesson with big grins and lots of “woo hoos.”

I look forward to watching Madison and Mickey do great things as a team in 2017!

-Amanda Hume (Madison's Mom!)

Avery and Mindee

My daughter, Avery, started riding at White Harvest Farms when she was 6 years old.  As she progressed over the years it was evident that this wasn’t a hobby and her commitment to riding was strong.  When she was 8 years old and after leasing two horses, we made the leap to buy a horse. 

We weren’t looking for just any horse but an all-around Paint Horse that jumped.  Under the guidance of Karen, we traveled to California with her to visit a mare that she trained.  Karen was aware of Avery’s ability and what the horse was capable of doing and her temperament.  After two days in California and riding “Mindee” aka Elegant Reflection, Karen negotiated the sale and she became part of our family.  Karen also coordinated the transportation to her new home from California to Colorado.

We have had Mindee now for just over two years.  Mindee is in full training at White Harvest Farms and Avery does multiple lessons (Western, Flat and Jumping) a week with her.  This was truly a match made in heaven; they are a duo that are in synch and the love is evident between the two of them.

-Heather Fogelsong